Ampeg’s new DI for bassists brings flexibility and plenty more.
One of the most important tools in a bassist’s arsenal is a well-built DI unit. These devices make it much easier to control the bass signal in the overall mix by both removing line noise and providing better handling of the instrument’s lower-frequency range. The engineers at Ampeg recently upped the ante by offering something more than just a simple DI. Their new SCR-DI pedal is essentially a preamp that merges a DI unit with an SVT-inspired tone stack, EQ, and bass-overdrive circuit.
Master and Commander
The SCR-DI’s die-cast zinc enclosure scores off the charts in terms of ruggedness. You’d be hard-pressed to find many other pedals on the market with an enclosure as solid as this.
The EQ and Bass Scrambler overdrive circuits each have dedicated footswitches.
The EQ side features a full spread of dials for volume, bass, midrange, and treble, along with a control for auxiliary input volume and switches for engaging the pedal’s ultra-lo and ultra-hi frequency boosting circuits. The Bass Scrambler side—borrowed from Ampeg’s BA series combos—is controlled with two dials for drive and wet/dry blending.
Armed with a Fender P and a 300-watt Verellen Meatsmoke head running into an Ampeg 8x10 cab, I was able to coax out satisfying tones that were reminiscent of a late-’70s SVT, courtesy of the pedal’s ultra-lo switch. It’s no coincidence: The pedal is definitely voiced for producing the SVT’s big and bold rumble, and it does a terrific job of capturing that vibe when coupled with a high-headroom power amp, like the one within the Meatsmoke.
Keeping the Meatsmoke’s EQ knobs neutral at noon, I found the pedal’s controls were sensitive enough to handle most of the tone shaping. The wide-frequency sweep of the pedal’s EQ also made it possible to dial in tones that were wildly different from the bypassed tone, effectively giving me a second clean channel to switch to whenever I needed it.
The SCR-DI’s Scrambler overdrive circuit scores high marks for its usability and punchy delivery. Bass overdrive effects often sound timid and tend to rely on weak, low-gain circuits. Thankfully, the SCR-DI’s Scrambler circuit has neither of these regrettable qualities. I was able to sweep from light growl to mammoth grind via the gain knob. The blend control allowed me to bring in just the right amount of dry signal foundation to keep the tone clear and defined. The drive circuit was indeed useful, but compared to a RAT or Big Muff, I felt the voicing lacked a little character. That said, it gets the job done better than many other standalone bass-overdrive stompboxes.
When used solely as a pedal for practicing and performing, the SCR-DI is worth the price of admission alone. As a studio tool, however, it’s worth its weight in gold. With a direct XLR connection from the pedal into my PreSonus interface, the signal from my P was vibrant with little coloration. The tone changed with a very amp-like response when I switched between fingerstyle and playing with a pick, and the bass and midrange bloomed as I strayed further from the bridge and closer to the neck. Most importantly, the signal was dead quiet during silent parts. And zero pesky background noise or hum equals happy bassist.
For the price of a couple of Benjamins, the SCR-DI is a no-brainer for bassists looking to add a DI to their stage and studio rigs. Its construction feels bulletproof, its preamp and EQ have a supremely wide breadth, and its overdrive circuit can cover much more ground than many standalone alternatives. Hands down—in my humble opinion—it’s one of the better bass DI options on the market today.
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Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
LegendaryTones, LLC today announced production availability of its new Mr. Scary Mod, a 100% pure tube module designed to instantly and easily expand the capabilities of many classic amplifiers with additional gain and tone shaping. Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
Originally released as the Lynch Mod in February 2021, the updated Mr. Scary Mod features the same core circuit as the Lynch Mod but is now equipped with a revised tube mix combo per George’s preference as well as a facelift in a newly redesigned electro-galvanized steel enclosure. As with the Lynch Mod, each run will be limited and the first run in Pumpkin Orange with Black hardware is limited to just 150 pieces worldwide.
The Mr. Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage on top of the cathode follower position, keeping note definition and articulation while further increasing sustain. Each Mr. Scary mod is meticulously built by hand in the USA, one at a time, and tuned using high-grade components. Equipped with a single ECC81 (12AT7) in the first position and ECC83 (12AX7) in the second, the Mr. Scary Mod can clean up beautifully when rolling down your guitar’s volume, and still adds scorching gain when you roll it back up. This is a gain stage that’s been tuned and approved by the ears of the maestro George Lynch himself.
“The Mr. Scary Mod excels with dynamics and is incredibly touch-responsive, allowing me to shift from playing clear, lightly compressed cleans to full-out aggressive sustain and distortion –and control it all simply by varying my guitar’s volume control and picking,” said GeorgeLynch. “In many ways, it’s an old-school approach, but it’s also so much more natural and expressive in addition to being musically fulfilling when you can play both the guitar and amp dynamically together this way.”
The Mr. Scary Mod installs in minutes, is safe and effective to use, and requires no special tools or re-biasing of the amplifier. Simply insert the module into the cathode follower preamp position of compatible amplifiers (includes Marshall 2203/2204/1959/1987 circuits) and
immediately get the benefit of enjoying a hot-rodded amp that delivers all the pure harmonic character that comes with an added pure tube gain stage. The handmade in the USA Mr. Scary Mod is now available to order for $319.
For more information, please visit legendarytones.com.
October Audio has miniaturized their NVMBR Gain pedal to create two mini versions of this beautifully organic-sounding circuit – including an always-on gain device.
The NVMBR Gain is a nonlinear amp that transitions gracefully from clean boost to overdriven tones. Volume increases from just over unity to about 10db before soft-clipping drive appears for another 5db of boost. Its extraordinary ease of use is matched by outstanding versatility: you can use it as a clean boost, push a stubborn amp into overdrive or create a just-breaking-up sound at any amp volume.
October Audio’s new family of mini NVMBR Gain pedals includes a switchable version that allows you to bypass the effect: one option features brand logo pedal graphics, while the other sports a fun “Witch Finger” graphic with a Davies knob as the“fingernail”.
The second version in the new lineup is an always-on device featuring the Witch Finger graphic and Davies knob, with the same NVMBR Gain circuit that lies at the core of the switchable version.
- Knob controls gain and clipping simultaneously
- Stunning silver hammertone finish
- Switchable versions are true-bypass, available with classic or witch finger graphics
- Authentic Davies knobs, including the “fingernail”
- 9V center negative power supply required
- Dimensions: 3.63 x 1.50 x 1.88 in
Witch Finger (always on NVMBR Gain) demo
All October Audio pedals are assembled in Richmond, VA, and available for purchase directly through the online shop. Street price is $109 for NVMBR Gain footswitch versions and $89 for the always-on device.
For more information, please visit octoberaudio.com.